The Hidden Village of Aspergers

March 15, 2012

Someone saved my life tonight

Filed under: childhood,mental illness — kankurette @ 7:56 pm
Tags: , , ,

As it’s Mother’s Day this weekend, Time To Change have been publishing blog entries about people with mental health difficulties and their relationships with their mothers, good or bad. I thought I’d add my bit, for one simple reason.

My mother is the main reason why I am alive today.

I’m not just saying that, either. My mother is my main reason to stay alive, to keep on fighting the depression and Aspergers and the nasty little voice in my head that tells me to harm myself. My mother gives me hope and lifts me up when I’m down and always has my back. My mother understands what it’s like to be depressed, having suffered from depression herself. She’s not going to tell me to pull myself together, because she’s had people say the same thing to her, and as we both know, that is not how depression works.

When I was a kid, Mum constantly taught me social skills, and although I felt like she was always finding fault with me, in retrospect, it paid off. When I had a breakdown in 2005 and nearly dropped out of university, Mum communicated with the disability department on my behalf; she helped get me the support I needed, and it was her who persuaded me to get out of the toxic house situation I lived in and move into temporary accommodation. She rang the Council last year on my behalf when I was panicking after receiving a phone call from bailiffs about unpaid council tax. She’s sat with me in doctor’s appointments and put me up when I’ve been vulnerable and afraid to be alone. We held hands at my paternal gran’s funeral, and I calmed her down when she had a panic attack when my brother didn’t come home on Christmas Day in 2010 (he was OK, thank G-d).

We haven’t always had an easy relationship, and maybe I’ll write about that some day. I got on better with Dad, and when he died, I had to learn to get on better with her. At times I felt like I could never do anything right, that she was disappointed because I wasn’t into normal girl stuff and that I wasn’t the daughter she’d wanted, that she wanted someone she could dress up and discuss make-up and clothes with, and got someone who was more into music and books. Sometimes I wondered if she hated me. She’s made me cry and I’ve made her cry. I’m not proud of that. I admit I wasn’t a nice teenager. I might not have been into drink and drugs and fucking random guys, but I was a cutter, and I was constantly angry and rude and bitter and withdrawn, hiding in my bedroom for hours. And yes, like every other teenage girl, we had the usual ‘you’re not going out looking like that’ argument, or the argument about safe sex (the awkward moment when your mother finds a morning after pill booklet and asks everyone in your family whose it is, until you come clean). We had screaming rows. My brother just sat there and took it, but I always answered back. Sometimes I’d just scream, because I was too frustrated and upset to say anything.

However, since I went to university, things have changed a hell of a lot, probably because we’re not in each other’s faces, and we’re both happier and more stable now that my stepdad is out of our lives. I ring her every week because I know she gets lonely, and because we both need someone to vent to about our jobs, and it’s just nice to hear a familiar friendly voice at the other end of the phone. She comes and visits me regularly as I live nearer than my brother, who’s in London, and although at times I feel a bit embarrassed for being more dependent on her than other people my age would be, I accept now that I can’t take everything on on my own.

My biggest fear is my mum and brother dying. I’ve already lost my father, and I know no-one lives forever, but losing one of them would be like losing my arm. I love them both so much. It didn’t hit home to me how my mental health problems affected Mum until she rang up the university counsellor’s office in a panic because the night before, I’d made a comment about slitting my wrists. As soon as I rang her at the counsellor’s request to let her know I was OK, she started crying. I wanted to hit myself for frightening her so much.

When you get older, you start to realise that your parents need you too, and it is kind of weird when Mum asks me for advice, but at the same time I’m flattered that she respects my opinions enough to ask for them. Cliched though it is, I want to give something back. If I could repay Mum a tenth of what she’s done for me, I’d be happy. I can never repay her enough. She is my fucking rock. She’s always believed in me and I feel like she finally accepts me now. It’s been a rough ten or so years, but one good thing about the depression is that it’s brought us closer together. She’s always willing to learn more about Aspergers and will always tell me about someone with Aspergers who’s been on Radio 4 (I swear, that station seems to have some kind of fetish). I’m going to see Radiohead with her in October and I’m not ashamed at all – I’m glad I’ve got a mother with such great music taste.

Mum sometimes worries that she failed at raising us, but as far as I’m concerned, she did the best she could. She remarried because it felt like the right thing to do at the time, and none of us could have foreseen that it would end bitterly. I wish she’d stop beating herself up over that time. I can understand why she did it. She was lonely after Dad died and she just needed someone else in her life.

Look at me. I’m starting to tear up now. There’s so much more I could write, but I’ll save it for future entries. So there’s only one way to end this: thank you, Mum, thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you.

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